Quail Ridge Books

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Moon Fuentez is a fascinating character. I liked the exploration of the psychological effects of pitting two children against each other in a family. This is a book about resilience through a lifetime of pain. It’s sex-positive. It’s a really original story. Moon’s humor carries a lot of the story and keeps it from feeling too dark.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, (List Price: $12.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534448674, August 2022)

Reviewed by Lizzy Nanney, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Delphi by Clare Pollard

Beautiful at the sentence level, Pollard’s Delphi deftly captured the weird, stagnant time of the early covid-19 pandemic through the first year. Her depiction of the strangeness of everyday life is lovely: the fear but especially the monotony. The main character had been researching divination methods of the ancient world prior to the pandemic; various forms of divination, ancient and modern, frame the short chapters. The methods are sometimes directly discussed or even used by the character to gain some semblance of control, but at other times, the chapter header appears only in an oblique nod: a flight of birds, a television unwatched. Taking a wider lens, the story is largely interior and for large stretches very little happens (though in an interesting way). The main character, her husband, and her son tackle isolation and conflict and the pressure to just go along with extended family’s risk assessments (whether stricter or looser); they take risks to connect with friends and coworkers that often turn out fine. There’s a flurry of the high-stakes plot near the end – even foreshadowed, the introduction of the conflict felt rather sudden, and the resolution arrived so abruptly that I turned the page expecting a denouement to find the acknowledgments page instead. But I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this book for a while.

Delphi by Clare Pollard, (List Price: $26.00, Avid Reader Press, 9781982197896, August 2022)

Reviewed by Ginger Kautz, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez

This was a fabulous debut! The main character was obnoxious but in an eventually relatable way that you come to love by the end. She’s a strong woman who makes good decisions for herself. The supporting characters were charming. The college campus setting was really inviting. But the greatest thing was the references. SO MANY GOOD REFERENCES! When one of the characters goes to the hospital and is in Room 616 I had to stop reading for a minute because it was just too good.

How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez, (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063114302, August 2022)

Reviewed by Lizzy Nanney, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

I was enthralled with the impeccable voice of Zinnia in the follow-up to A Spindle Splintered. Harrow’s incredible knowledge of fairy tales really shines through in this installment, without removing the reader from the narrative. I’m happy to put my hands on anything Harrow writes — she is a new favorite!

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow (List Price: $18.99, Tordotcom, 9781250766649, June 2022)

Reviewed by Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Ahmed masterfully weaves together so many difficult topics that it’s hard to say what this book is about in any concise way. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It shines a light on horrific topics with sensitivity and grace and does so through the lens of two characters that are some of the most realistic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Safiya didn’t really know Jawad, and she still felt the pain of his loss deeply. Upon finishing this book, I too feel his loss as if I knew him. I cannot remember ever reading a book so impactful, so relevant, and so emotionally gripping. If I had my way, everyone would read this book

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316282642, May 2022)

Reviewed by tee arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

THIS. IS. A. WILD. RIDE! Everyone is obsessed with Shara Wheeler. Everyone except Chloe Green. Okay, maybe Chloe Green is obsessed with her too, but totally not in the way that you think. What starts out as a fun adventure to find the missing golden girl turns into a neurotic hunt with a healthy dose of discovering queer identities and finding supportive friendships in the unlikeliest of places. Come for the intrigue, stay for the flourishing community of misfits.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (List Price: $19.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250244451, May 2022)

Reviewed by Tee Arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

The robot Mosscap is the first to return from from the wilds to ask the question, “What do humans want?” The tea monk, despite their vocation of helping others by listening to problems while serving tea, feels unqualified to answer – and unmoored in their own life. This novella is an inspiring meditation on purpose and meaning set in an interesting world with a great first-contact frame.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, (List Price: 20.99, Tordotcom, 9781250236210, 2021-07-13)

Reviewed by Ginger Kautz, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron

This provides rare insight into the life of a young German woman before, during and after WWI. Eva left her life in Berlin and came to the US seeking to fiil in the gaps in her childhood and youth. In her quest, fraught with unknown dangers, secrets and lies, she pushes forward to dispel the myths and face the horrors that she was unaware of in her past. A riveting story that reminds us of the cruel depravity that humans are capable of, and society’s responsibility to hold them accountable.

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron, (List Price: $18.99, Scholastic Press, 9781338355963, October 2021)

Reviewed by Belinda Hayes, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina


Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

Mott’s latest is no joke. Charlie Kauffman-esque in its surrealism that devolves into almost fever dream with the most unreliable narrator I’ve ever read. Fantastic writing, and meaning, and it should be read by the masses. ‘Memory and death are countries that know no geography.’

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott, (List Price: 27, Dutton, 9780593330968, July 2021)

Reviewed by Amber Brown from Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC

The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner

What an awesome sequel! So much of the first was about Moth learning her history, but this new installment is more about learning herself, which I adore. Her mom’s romantic subplot is also a great addition, and the added strength of the three Hush women is a sight to behold.

The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner (List Price: $12.99, Aladdin, 9781534431485, 7/6/2021)

Reviewed by Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie Liu

I hadn’t read anything by Marjorie Liu prior to the Monstress series, but with how much I love that, combined with the stunning cover by Sana Takeda, how could I resist her short story collection? A sweet sapphic Sleeping Beauty retelling, a runaway princess finds a new quirky family, an apprentice using dolls to seek revenge on her teacher, a villain’s shot at redemption. Liu’s stories gave me goosebumps, made me swoon, and at times cracked me up. This definitely a collection to have.

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie Liu, (List Price: 16.95, Tachyon Publications, 9781616963521, June 2021)

Reviewed by Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

A young woman who has burned out after 14 years in her chosen career takes on a series of short contract jobs through an employment agency. The jobs are somewhat unusual, but plausible… But as each contract goes on and she becomes more invested in her ‘easy’ job, the stranger each job becomes. Light surreal/confabulist touches plus the occasional meditation on work and meaning tie her various job adventures into an enjoyable read.

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura (List Price: $18, Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635576917, 3/23/2021)

Reviewed by Ginger Kautz, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

Clovis Keeps His Cool by Katelyn Aronson, Eve Farb (Illus.)

An adorable take on the classic phrase, Clovis the bull and his precious Granny’s china shop totally stole my heart. It’s a great reminder for everyone at any age that one must practice mindfulness, but if you slip up, it’s okay—you just have to gather yourself up again, keeping calm and kind. Every face on every page is so expressive, and Clovis’ suspenders are too cute. This picture book made my day.

Clovis Keeps His Cool by Katelyn Aronson, Eve Farb (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Page Street Kids, 9781645672135, 8/17/2021)

Reviewed by Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

A stunning tale of perseverance, family, friendship, and hope, The Four Winds absolutely blew me away. Kristin Hannah describes a time in American history that is often overlooked through the eyes of characters so human I’m amazed they aren’t real people. Hannah weaves the struggles of the time seamlessly with ones any mother can relate to: working ten hours a day for mere pennies and a son who gets into fights at school; using a rope to guide her to the barn because the dust in the air is so thick she can’t see, then coming inside to an obstinate teenage daughter who just wants her dad. The reader can relate to Elsa enough that they can easily see themselves even in her most dire circumstances. The Four Winds tells the story of an American dream that isn’t meant for everyone, and how those left behind can band together to make that dream work for them. It’s one I will not soon forget.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (List Price: $28.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250178602, 2/2/2021)

Reviewed by Tia at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor

Night Vale fans rejoice! Here is the latest offering from the talented offbeat minds of Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink – creators of the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale. I don’t want to give anything away because that would spoil your enjoyment of this book. However, I will say this much: If you are already listening to Welcome to Night Vale, get this book. If you aren’t already listening, you need to start listening!! While being a fan definitely helps, it is not ultimately a bar to reading and enjoying this book. It might even get you to start listening!

The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor (List price: $21.99, Harper Perennial), recommended by Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

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